Survival "soft" skills?

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Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Leif3141 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:36 am

We all hear of the necessary skills to survive like shooting, fighting, hoarding/foraging, etc. What are some of the soft skills that you don't think are really addressed but would be pretty much necessary for survival? I can think of 2 -

Stealth - Whether its being light on your feet, hiding from threats, crawling/crouching, etc, does anyone really think of this for practicing? I kinda do it all the time without technically focusing on it - my dog loves hide and seek, and I'm kind of a practical joker at work that likes to sneak up and scare the crap out of coworkers. Ever try to move around your house as quietly as possible? It's not as easy as movies make it out to be.

Sprinting - One simply has to go look on a running path to see hoards of joggers and bikers chugging away on the road. How beneficial of a skill would this be for an apocalypse? Hardly at all I imagine. Most of the time, running would involve a near sprint for a couple of minutes to a full blown sprint to safety. The other times would involve walking/hiking, riding at an easy pace on a bike, or just riding in a car.

What you guys think?

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by woodsghost » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:03 am

I thing foraging wild edibles is often overlooked. So is the skills of a nutritionist and helping us figure out how to have a balanced and healthy diet.

Making medicinals from wild plants seems to be overlooked.

Talking with people, being charming, or being a leader, organizing, managing resources and managing people all seem to be overlooked skills, though we do try to emphasize building social networks.

I"d say food preservation is not emphasized enough, and I think that was brought out in a recent thread. What I also noticed in that thread is some people are more prepared for long term food preservation than I realized. So I think some of us are up on it, and some of us have a ways to go.

Tanning/preserving of hides and furs is probably under-emphasized.

Winter survival is not something a lot of people like to think about, though we do have our Winter MBO every year!!!!

Sewing is a very useful skill that not a lot of people focus on or talk about.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Zimmy » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:19 pm

Salesmanship for the optimist, bullshitting for the pessimist.

Being able to convince others to believe what you wish them to believe is a skill that seems often overlooked.

You may need to convince others to let you in the group, let you pass a checkpoint, think twice about attacking you, or giving you better results if in a group debate. Another use may be to improve the faltering morale of people in your group.

The potential scenarios are endless. :words:
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by manowar1313 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:50 pm

Leif3141 wrote:
Sprinting - One simply has to go look on a running path to see hoards of joggers and bikers chugging away on the road. How beneficial of a skill would this be for an apocalypse? Hardly at all I imagine. Most of the time, running would involve a near sprint for a couple of minutes to a full blown sprint to safety. The other times would involve walking/hiking, riding at an easy pace on a bike, or just riding in a car.

What you guys think?
I personally can think of a situation when running for long distances would be beneficial, someone is chasing you. It a WROL situation I want to be able to run faster and further than the person chasing me, since you have no idea how far they can run you should be ready to run for a prolonged amount of time.

Also running sets a good baseline. Physical health will deteriorate during TEOTWAWKI meaning if the best you can do right now is a 2 mile run, with poor food and little sleep do you think your performance is going to improve?

Finally, running is good exercise. If you run or do similar type exercise when the SHTF you're going to be better prepared. Hiking is physically demanding and if your body is use to being stressed by exercise it's going to handle it much better.

I think one of the MOST overlooked aspects of prepping is physical fitness. If aren't physically prepared the best gear and training aren't going to mean shit.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by ineffableone » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:46 pm

manowar1313 wrote:I personally can think of a situation when running for long distances would be beneficial, someone is chasing you. It a WROL situation I want to be able to run faster and further than the person chasing me, since you have no idea how far they can run you should be ready to run for a prolonged amount of time.
Something to note, is that humans were made for long distance, endurance running. It is the one advantage we had way way back over most other animals. We could run them into the ground and over heat them. While most animals can run faster than humans, we can run and cool while most animals can't. They need to stop and pant to cool.

So working on endurance running to some extent can be a very good thing to train. It is a skill we humans were designed for. And as mentioned it is a good exercise too.

Some other soft skills to consider.

Negotiation/barter/haggle - Being able to barter is an art form. It is a skill that can really be useful but you almost never see people discuss it past what items might be useful. In the US we do not haggle like people in other countries, and this puts us as a whole under skilled in the department for barter, because barter is a form of haggling. Some very basic tips on haggling are given here http://www.wikihow.com/Haggle as reference for people who never thought about it.

Operational awareness/ paying attention to your surroundings - is something that is sort of conditioned out of most urban and suburban dwellers. With so much going on we learn to tune things out to not get overwhelmed with too much input. But things like the dog barking down the block can be useful info. It could mean the kids are on their way home, the mail man is coming, etc.. Similarly bird alarm calls can be a great warning of an intruder to your area if you know them and pay attention to them. But also being able to spot odd people who are behaving funny, and avoiding them before they are a problem, the crazy homeless guy in a city is the typical thing that comes to mind. If you are paying attention you can see the ripples his disturbance is causing in the flow of people on the sidewalk as people work to avoid him. Seeing this ahead of others can let you avoid him more effectively. This skill can end up being really helpful if your caught in a riot like situation. Seeing ahead and planning routes. There is a lot of things you can do in normal life to improve your awareness, sit in a park and just watch people see how they interact and behave. Start predicting their behavior. Will the jogger stop at the fountain for a drink or pass it by? Why do you think that. Etc.

Patience/being ok with nothing entertaining you - this I think will be a big shock to many folks if SHTF. While there will be plenty of drama and excitement there will also be long stretches of boring. And without our typical distraction devices this might be overwhelming for some. A lot of thread mention for BOBs bringing a game, cards, etc as a way to pass time. But something else would be to learn to not need distraction. If you are sitting up for guard duty you don't want to be distracted, but you want to be able to watch and still stay awake and alert. So learning how to be calm and relaxed and yet still focused while doing nothing can be a very important skill.

I am sure I could think of a bunch of others but this is a start for folks to consider.
Last edited by ineffableone on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by ManInBlack316 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:07 pm

Resiliency, at least that's what the army called it, the ability to "bounce back". Being grounded with something in your life that will keep you going, be it a faith, value system, family loyalty, ect. Basically being able to take the crap that life and especially life post SHTF will throw at you. I believe some people have it naturally, others have to work at it.
This might be a stretch, but how about reading comprehension? Say you're making a garden and trying to go off that handy dandy "self sufficiency" manual, would be great to know how to read and comprehend it. This also might be going into knowing your learning style, I'm a visual/hands on learned, I can generally learn pretty easily when I can see or do something; not so when I'm just being told how to.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by AfleetAlex » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:54 pm

Flexibility: This doesn't just mean stretching in your living room, it means getting out and walking in the woods. This stretches out the tendons and ligaments in your knees and ankles and builds another overlooked skill: surefootedness. Without both, injury is imminent. The less in shape you are, the longer the recovery period.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by woodsghost » Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:33 pm

A few things different people said reminded me that flexibility of the mind is critical. Staying alert to what is going on around us. Perceiving a situation as it actually is. Rolling with life's punches. Not getting hung up or despairing when bag things happen. In fact, cognitive re-framing to adjust our feelings, and this helps us to perceive situations more accurately and adapt to our world as it changes.

Focusing on accident reduction and risk mitigation. Examine choices for flaws and potential failures and risks. Take steps to minimize those risks. Learn to look for hidden or unexpected risk.

Learn to work with a failed plan. Everything takes longer than we think it will take to accomplish. Everything takes more resources. Everything is more expensive than we anticipate. So back to the top: be flexible! Be adaptable. Find ways to make yourself adaptable and forward thinking, looking for the problems that can and will arise, and realize that there will always be more problems.

Take joy in life. Without joy, life sucks and then we die. This is similar to cognitive re-framing and rolling with life's punches, but it includes a choice to accept our world, our situation, and be happy with and grateful for what you have. This helps with being present in mind, alert to how the world is, and quick adaptation to changes in the world. Especially if the world all of a sudden goes all sucky.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by ODA 226 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:22 pm

woodsghost wrote:A few things different people said reminded me that flexibility of the mind is critical. Staying alert to what is going on around us. Perceiving a situation as it actually is. Rolling with life's punches. Not getting hung up or despairing when bag things happen. In fact, cognitive re-framing to adjust our feelings, and this helps us to perceive situations more accurately and adapt to our world as it changes.

Learn to work with a failed plan. Everything takes longer than we think it will take to accomplish. Everything takes more resources. Everything is more expensive than we anticipate. So back to the top: be flexible! Be adaptable. Find ways to make yourself adaptable and forward thinking, looking for the problems that can and will arise, and realize that there will always be more problems.
I agree with you 100% here! In Special Forces we have an old adage: "No Plan Survives First Contact". Learn to be more than flexible. Learn how to be "FORMLESS".
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by moab » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:01 pm

I agree with the running thing. And overall fitness. I don't see it discussed enough. Just get yourself on a tread mill and you'll see how effective you are at outrunning someone real fast. I went back to working out recently. And it opened by eyes. It's probably the number one thing most required. Right along with gear. Even my firearm building forum has a fitness section. I don't recall seeing one around here. But I don't stray to far from the bugout threads anyway.

To many armchair commandos online I think. That wouldn't last a day simply because of their lack of fitness. I'm an endomorph or which ever one is shaped like a fucking pear. So I have to work at it regularly. As does anyone I guess. Anyway. Fitness should be right up there with the gear you choose. And I rarely see it discussed.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Mikeyboy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:36 pm

AfleetAlex wrote:Flexibility: This doesn't just mean stretching in your living room, it means getting out and walking in the woods. This stretches out the tendons and ligaments in your knees and ankles and builds another overlooked skill: surefootedness. Without both, injury is imminent. The less in shape you are, the longer the recovery period.
+1 to this and just general overall fitness.

The first time I went hiking as a married adult was a real eye opener for me. As a kid, teenager, and young I could walk for miles without issue. Then in my mid 30's I decide to going on a hiking/camping trip after almost 10 years of never hiking, an not working out much.

1) Got a nice case of Plantar Fasciitis
2) almost rolled may ankle twice
3) had a real hard time going uphill
4) overall tiredness and soreness that lasted 2 days.

Now I'm in my 40's and hike regularly and I I'm in a lot better overall hiking condition than I was back then. The PF does not bother me anymore, I don't get winded on inclines as easy, and my balance, ankle strength, overall surefootedness is much better

Also the OP has to understand that endurance is REAL important. You don't need to be a marathoner, but overall endurance is more important than sprinting speed. Someone with good overall cardio endurance can walk farther, and takes longer to get winded. Also while sprinting short distances faster may be important, if you get winded and you can't recover quickly its all irrelevant. Who is going to win the 500 yard sprint to safety, the guy who can run a 100 yard dash real fast. He will look great at 100 yards maybe 200, but at 250 yards they starts sucking wind, then panting at 350 yard and finally they start walking at 400 yards. However the guy who regularly runs 5K, he can run, but not sprinter fast, but he can easily run 500 without breaking a sweat, and still has enough to run a mile more if needed.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Stercutus » Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:22 pm

- Patience (is priceless). Being able to share this skills will yield amazing results in high stress situations.

- Time management - (the five P's) Proper planning now prevents poor performance later.

If going with a team, teamwork and communication are essential.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by JeeperCreeper » Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:58 pm

Driving: In the apocalypse, I plan on being in many car chases. If you don't understand simple things like oversteer, understeer, apex, heel-toe shifting, brake-and-throttle-through, countersteering, and general vehicle control, how will you be able to survive driving in say.... a hurricane, snow storm, volcano, zombie horde, meth biker gang, earthquake, rush hour traffic....
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by lovesmuggler » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:45 pm

Learn to work in a team. If you're one of those insufferable people that everyone at work hates because you don't really pull your weight, and you're not a good leader, but a worse follower, you need to change before the world ends. Or learn how to do every single thing for yourself.


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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Leif3141 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:12 am

Lots of great responses here! I especially agree with being charismatic, being able to hike through woods, being fine with "hurrying up to wait", and adapting to a failed situation. However, I do feel I need to clarify regarding my sprinting vs long distance cardio, and my overall fitness in general.

I do agree endurance is important, and even said most movement that would be done would be walking/hiking long distances, so that would be important to work on as well. I myself usually do a mile or two run a couple of times per week in addition to speed work. However, I don't agree that running long distances (and by that, I mean more than a mile, two at most) is beneficial in regards to survival skills. Ever try running longer than a couple miles while carrying a load? Hardcore enthusiasts/people in the armed forces might do it, but rarely does anyone do that in real life. Chasing scenarios involving other humans would not involve miles of running on an open road. Running through woods, urban environments, sure, and that might last a couple of miles, but they would still be at a quicker pace than what most running for exercise takes place at (slower pace, longer distance). And it is actually a pretty well known fact that sprinting/speed/hill running does improve your ability to run longer distances as well. I feel anything above a mile or two is overly harsh on your joints for the payoff. And the persistence hunting hypothesis only works for savannah/plains type of environments. In jungles, woodlands, etc, it is believed our ability to stalk prey was the main type of hunting done.

I'm curious now what everyone's strength training routines are now. Heh. I used to follow the bodybuilder type path in my early twenties (lots of focusing on muscle groups, isolation work such as curls/dumbell flyes, etc), then I went to just focusing on powerlifting exercises (squats, deads, bench, rows). I cancelled my gym membership years ago and got kettlebells instead. I find the gym atmosphere to be irritating, and barbell training to be too "convenient" when compared to kettlebells. People tend to focus on either type of training (endurance or strength/power), while I feel being a jack of all trades in this department is probably the best.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by nielsenj » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:57 am

Training is the most important factors that someone may be able to gain in terms of knowledge, skills and abilities.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by TheWarriorMax » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:13 am

Yep. Assholes and control freaks won't last long.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:42 pm

Jack of all trades. You have to be able to work with limited tools and resources. You have to be able to do or learn to do anything. Empathy isn't a skill but it's useful for reading people and gauging their potential as well as their weaknesses. Profiling goes right there with empathy and serves you just as well. Understanding how food-bourne illness occurs as to best avoid it happening because it's completely preventable. Diplomacy is good. Being able to diffuse conflict or to work out a comprimise is incredibly useful.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by RadFoxUK » Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:54 pm

Ingenuity, it's almost always overlooked! to come up with clever ideas to either improve upon or create new defencive and offencive tactics. Following a rule-book will almost certainly get you killed without the ability to adapt and improve to the circumstances you find yourself in. I also cannot stress this enough... Read, watch and listen, use these methods to improve your knowledge of both the expected environmkent and also the ones you may not expect. NEVER stay in the cities or towns (high populated areas), even if it's not a zombie apocalypse either bandits, disease or even just a persons will and ability to kill you if it keeps them alive even for a second longer, over all be prepared for both the areas near you, within a full gas tank of your home, and beyond that!

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by K9Crew » Sun May 10, 2015 12:59 am

I agree with all the runners on this one. The number one rule for surviving Zombieland - Cardio.
For many years I was out-of-shape, lazy and my only hope of survival would be to defend my position until I was rescued. If you are out of shape, bugging out is probably your last option but if your house or shelter burns down or is destroyed by a storm it may be necessary. Even during some of the recent bad storms I have heard of people walking for miles in freezing temps to get to shelter after their car broke down or got stuck in the snow. Similarly, many of the people in Nepal now find it necessary to travel for miles on foot to get to clean water or aid. Running or walking for long distances and just being physically fit so you are an asset in a survival situation and not a liability should be one of the very core values of our group.
I've spent the last 5 years learning how much self-discipline and determination it takes to make yourself go to the gym regularly and eat healthy. The 25 year old version of me would have died laughing if someone told him he would eventually be able to run 26.2 miles but I've done it several times now that I am more concerned with my survival skills.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by tedbeau » Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:23 am

"Zimmy"]Salesmanship for the optimist, bullshitting for the pessimist.

Being able to convince others to believe what you wish them to believe is a skill that seems often overlooked.

You may need to convince others to let you in the group, let you pass a checkpoint, think twice about attacking you, or giving you better results if in a group debate. Another use may be to improve the faltering morale of people in your group.

The potential scenarios are endless.
Read a copy of "Steal this computer" or "The Art of Deception" by Kevin Mitnick. These are book about how hackers use "Social Engineering" to gain access to computers or restricted areas. It's not like in the movies. Almost every hack required information from an unsuspecting person.
One of my favorites in one of the books involved a book that the telephone company used that listed dial codes to gain access to their system. The book was updated once a year and the old copy collected and destroyed. A hacker called a telephone office in a remote town, explained that he was supposed to be picking up the book but had car trouble and was not going to get there until after the office closed. He explained about having to walk in the rain to get a tow truck and that his boss was going to be upset if he didn't get to the next town the next day. He begged to guy at the phone company to leave the book outside and he would pick it up when he got there. The guy felt sorry for him and left it.
itzybitzyspyder » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Jack of all trades. You have to be able to work with limited tools and resources. You have to be able to do or learn to do anything. Empathy isn't a skill but it's useful for reading people and gauging their potential as well as their weaknesses. Profiling goes right there with empathy and serves you just as well. Understanding how food-bourne illness occurs as to best avoid it happening because it's completely preventable. Diplomacy is good. Being able to diffuse conflict or to work out a comprimise is incredibly useful.
Yep I consider myself a jack of all trades. growing up we had a hobby farm so I learned animal care, handling, and first aid, planting techniques, and construction. In high school I took metal shop, wood shop and I have a major in auto repair. My college degree is in tool and die design and I have worked as a mechanical engineer for 30 years.

My dad was a mill wright and taught me to weld and use a cutting torch.

I used to repair all my friends and family's computers, and sell repaired ones I picked up at garage sales.

I taught myself computer programing and have had several articles published. I also used salvaged parts from old computers to build a working robot while I taught myself electronics. Then I upgraded the robot to a Basic stamp.

I shoot IDPA matches and I plan on attending an appleseed match to improve my rifle skills.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Asymetryczna » Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:12 pm

Learn to read. Find a list (e.g. http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/1 ... 00-novels/) and start buying used copies. Obviously, this is for more of a stay-put scenario but you will want to have a way to escape now and then that improves upon reasoning skills. Add a book about yoga as well. Once you are highly organized, your internet addiction has passed and running a little mo no longer does it for you, you'll need to meditate and relax.
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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by ViolentKooter » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:17 pm

Since this was posted in the Urban Skillz, it changes a few of the skills I want to bring up. I agree about basic level of strength and cardio, stealth and ability to sprint.

1) The ability to read a map. Like, a piece of paper plus or minus a compass - not a GPS. Reason: Duh.
2) Basic craftsmanship. Reason: Something is broken and needs fixing, fortification (if necessary), a stroke of genius strikes and you decide to build something to help with a task or comfort.
3) Ability to multitask. Reason: If you're not in a group in whatever scenario, you will need the ability to do many things at once in order to get everything required done. Example, cooking meat while making potable water, getting locked down for the night, and whatever else needs to be done with dying light.
4) Organization. Reason: Knowing where everything you have prepped thus far is, and what you have, is amazing. Keep a running tally on what you need, so you don't get more than required (both monetarily and physically costly sometimes).

I left out some bushcrafty type things because this is in Urban, but, that's my chiming in.

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Re: Survival "soft" skills?

Post by Pr0sper0 » Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:10 am

Fire Safety-Loads more potential for fires, explosions, gas, carbon monoxide buldup in a envioment thats built around the ideas of central heating. So a awareness of fire safety, knowing how to use a fire extinguisher, fire blackets, what you can and cant use on a fire.

In a similar vein Grey and Black water skills-toilets and sanitation require electricity, so knowing when to stop flushing and how to ''block off'' a toilet. Plus safe water skills...what kills more people than the event itself? Poor hygene practices aftewards.

Locksmithing....saying nothing else ;)

Bicycle maintanace, a tradeable skill. A bike lying abandoned may just need the gears adjusting? We are in such a throwaway society nowadays that small faults with push bikes mean a trip to the tip instead of a trip to the repair shop.

Radio/Ham skills....listen if not talk.

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